Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer, the two major airport shuttle services for Walt Disney World, have announced that they will be merging into one service called “Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine.”
The Mears Connect shuttle is a shared shuttle service that transports guests from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Disney World Resort Hotels, currently offering a Standard and Express option for travel. Sunshine Flyer is a bus service themed around old-fashioned passenger cars and train locomotives that also takes guests from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Disney World Resort Hotels. You can find our Disney World Resort Hotel reviews, including the pros and cons of each, for more information about staying on-site at Walt Disney World.
After the discontinuation of Disney’s Magical Express shuttle service, Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer stepped up as the main two providers of transportation from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Disney World and have been competitors the past couple of years.
Though many fans have been clamoring for the return of the popular, and complimentary, Disney Magical Express service, Disney has not made any announcements and this merger really doesn’t impact anything with Disney. Previously the Mears company ran the Magical Express service for Disney and there was no other competitor.
Now, this merger really means that we are back to the status quo. As with any time that a market goes from two competitors to one consolidated company, the monopoly could lead to increased prices for the new service. That said, Uber and Lyft will still keep a ceiling on prices as guests could always switch to using those rideshare services if prices get too high for the shuttle. We will have to wait and see.
Keep reading for more information on what to expect from these two services merging!
Why Are The Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer Shuttles Merging?
Despite the competition of Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer as the two leading services, Mears Transportation Chief Operating Officer Rebecca K. Horton shared in a statement, “While we have been competitors in the past, we have always shared the same goals to provide guests with safe, reliable, cost-effective, stress-free travel between the airport and Walt Disney World Resorts.”
Horton also described more about the decision: “By merging operations, sharing ideas, expanding services, collaborating on what’s best for the guest, we believe we can provide an even better guest experience given the challenges and opportunities in today’s travel market.”
When Will Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine Debut?
The new service will start on August 1st, providing transportation from Orlando International Airport to Disney World hotels, and it will be the only 24/7 shuttle operating out of Orlando International Airport a Terminals A, B and C.
The service plans to introduce new “benefits and features” during Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer’s partnership, like enhanced booking and operational capabilities.
Manager Mark Sherman shared in a statement: “Whether it is 24/7 service, express options or a private trip to ease guests’ minds the minute they step off the plane together, Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine is delivering more to our guests. We are confident that our collaborative efforts will promote a creative atmosphere and will allow us to focus on the customer experience and kick off the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation the moment they touch down in Orlando.”
How Will This Affect Booking for Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer?
Guests who have already booked reservations through Mears Connect will not be affected by the change, and Sunshine Flyer guests traveling between July 14 and 31st will get an email asking for confirmation of their travel.
You can read our current review of the Mears Connect Airport Shuttle to Disney World in our guide. With these two competing services merging, the hope is that guests will be treated to an engaging mode of travel, optimized for efficiency, that will enable them to start their Disney World experience out on a good foot.
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